The Jesus Family (Chinese: 耶穌家庭) was a unique Pentecostal communitarian church first established in rural Shandong Province in a village called Mazhuang, in Taian County about 1927. In later years, other Jesus Family churches were established in North and Central China, many of them in Shandong but others as far south as the regions of Wuhan and Nanjing. They were all in rural or semirural areas, and were formed into small communities of up to a few hundred, with the believers working and living together, and holding property in common, under the direction of the "family head" (家長).
Though it is hard to be exact, it seems that there were well over one hundred of these Jesus Family communities in 1949, with a total of several thousand members. All were run entirely by Chinese, under the overall leader Jing Dianying (敬奠瀛). The Jesus Family was strongly millenarian, anticipating the imminent return of Christ, and it is very Pentecostal, basing its worship and behaviour on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including tongues, and also on the believers' receiving divine revelations through messages obtained while in a trance. All the Jesus Family believers were disbanded in 1953, but even today many former adherents are active members and leaders in the Chinese christian community. In the late 1980s, some Jesus Family groups reappeared, but they are technically illegal and subject to persecution by the authorities. Unlike the True Jesus Church and the Church Assembly Hall, the Jesus Family did not move outside China.
Read more about Jesus Family: Early Development
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